Belfast Telegraph

‘Just don’t call this show Bake Off Reheated!’

Nadiya Hussain co-hosts the BBC’s The Big Family Cooking Showdown, but the Bake Off winner says it’s not a pale imitation

By Susan Griffin

The Big Family Cooking Showdown is being hailed as the new Great British Bake Off, but Nadiya Hussain, who co-presents the series with Zoe Ball, is adamant it’s nothing of the sort.

“People think it’s a replacement, they’re saying it’s the new Bake Off, but it’s not,” says Hussain, who won The Great British Bake Off in 2015.

Ahead of its debut on BBC Two on Tuesday, we take a closer look at the new show which is set to celebrate favourite family recipes across the nation.

What’s the format?

Over the 12-part series, 16 teams of cooks will be whittled down over eight heats, three semi-finals and one grand final. In each episode, two families, represented by three family members, go head-to-head in three rounds.

Round one is the £10 challenge, where teams show what they can do to feed four within the budget in just over an hour.

Round two is the home visits challenge, where each team must cook a main course and a dessert in their own home.

Round three is the “impress the neighbours” challenge, where the families return to the studio, creating a starter and a main course in little over two hours.

Who’s presenting?

Zoe Ball swaps the glitter of Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two for presenting duties in The Big Family Cooking Showdown studio. Ball, a mum-of-two, doesn’t describe herself as the world’s best cook, but has enjoyed learning some handy new kitchen tips from the families.

“We get to go into family homes and see them cooking in their own home space. It’s really quite wonderful seeing all these recipes that have gone back through the families, handed down and taught from generation to generation,” says the 46-year-old.

Ball is joined by Hussain, a mum-of-three, who’s now a published author and popular TV presenter following her Bake Off win.

“It’s not just about the food, but it’s also about the dynamics of the family, because we’ve got so many different types of families, the array of food is unreal,” explains the 32-year-old.

“And it’s not one person cooking, so it falls on everybody to have a role in the group and that’s really interesting to watch.”

Who’s judging?

Chef Rosemary Shrager (66), who’s appeared on The Real Marigold Hotel, The Chopping Block and Rosemary’s School For Cooks, as well as Ladette To Lady, is looking for a family with food at its heart that shares both the kitchen duties and recipes between the generations.

“I think it’s a combination of families cooking, achieving lots of great stuff together, doing lots of unusual food that even I haven’t seen before,” she says.

She is joined by Michelin star chef Giorgio Locatelli, who owns Locanda Locatelli, and has appeared in Sicily Unpacked and Italy Unpacked.

“I was born on the second floor of a restaurant, so all my life it has been about culinary tradition,” he notes. “I think the viewers will enjoy the intimacy of going to the house of the families, see their kitchen and see what food means to them.”

who’s taking part?

In total there are 16 families, two taking part per episode, and representing all corners of the country.

In heat one, we’re introduced to the Charles and Marks families, who hail from Yorkshire and London respectively.

The Charles team is made up of Betty (29), her husband Dan (32) and her mother Jean (59). They take inspiration for their food from their travels across Europe and Asia.

The Marks team is made up of Swedish-born Torun (86), her daughter Jessica (55) and grandson Oskar (29). Together they enjoy cooking Swedish dishes that Torun has passed down to her family, with Oskar adapting the recipes using more exotic ingredients.

does it deserve the bake off comparisons?

In short, no it doesn’t. There might be two judges and two presenters, one of which won The Great British Bake Off, but that’s really where the similarities end.

There are teams of three so unlike Bake Off it’s a group effort. The contestants are also asked to create entire meals not focus solely on cakes, buns and breads.

  • The Big Family Cooking Showdown, BBC Two, Tuesday, 8pm

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